Hello and welcome to a special SAM Moments™ in which we get to pay tribute to and learn from an insurance industry icon who you probably never heard of! Like so many humble leaders in the industry, the twelfth anniversary of his death went largely unnoticed. But the lessons that Will Romero taught to his colleagues with New York Life are as timeless and as they are priceless.
A Tribute to Will Romero (1928-2007)
Like so many relationships begin, I was introduced to him through a mutual friend in the industry, Dan Cunningham, CLU, LTCF. Dan was one of his closest proteges who also thought some lessons from this consummate teacher needed to be passed on.
There was something special about Mr. Romero (as I preferred to call him) and you knew it from the moment you shook his hand. He had a sparkle in his eye and an incredible zest for life, but what really jumped out at me was his passion for helping others.
Mr. Romero raised himself up from humble, if not impoverished beginnings, to becoming a very successful agent, manager, general agent and a Regional Vice President with New York Life. He traveled the world freely, owning homes across the country and even one in Costa Rica. After he retired, his reputation spread beyond his company as he continued consulting across the industry. He was always earnest to offer assistance wherever and whenever possible and had a strong sense of fairness and balance. After I helped him put the finishing touches to his book, THE PLATINUM LEADER, he insisted on reciprocating by helping me design one of the prospecting forms that appears in many of our planners.
Few knew him better than Dan, whom Mr. Romero continued to coach almost on a weekly basis until his passing. According to Dan, Will Romero loved the insurance business and was famous for saying, “I don’t know if America is great because of the life insurance industry or if the life insurance industry is great because this is America. I just know it makes an incredible difference in people’s lives.” Here are some of Dan’s favorite quotes from his mentor:
In the words of Dan Cunningham, “Will knew that as a manager and a leader you are always being observed, always being watched and his managers were shaping lives by leading by example. He critiqued with caring. He always tried to make you better, to make you think differently. He knew where you needed to go, and always suggested ways to improve. He was a man of tradition, a man of renaissance, a man of style, and a man of grace.”
Finally, Dan said, “I remember one of Mr. Romero’s many calls to me. It was a short conversation, as they frequently were, early at about 6:30 in the morning as my family and I were preparing to go to church on the Easter Sunday before he passed. Will simply said, ‘I've been to Mass. I prayed for you. I prayed for your family. God loves you and I love you.’ What better way to remember someone!”
Thanks again for joining us for SAM Moments!